Historic London Music Venues

From the buzzing 1940s underground jazz scene to the explosion of punk, via folk and blues clubs, a tour of the London music scene reveals a legendary pedigree. We’ve already rounded up some of London’s best small gig venues, so today we’re celebrating the historic music joints that personify the spirit of rock n’ roll…

Blood Orange at The 100 Club

The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks… is there anyone who hasn’t played at The 100 Club? The Oxford Street venue has been a hot spot for the latest music trends since it started hosting live music in 1942, with American servicemen flocking to its Sunday jazz evenings even as bombs fell on London. Today, The 100 Club works with Converse – which stepped up as sponsor when the club’s future appeared in to be jeopardy in 2011 – to curate one-off shows featuring the latest in great talent. Its April night hosts R&B-influenced songwriter/producer How To Dress Well. For a chance to bag yourself FREE tickets and experience the 100 Club’s intimate atmosphere, register here. Sign-up closes Sunday 20 April. W1D

A gleaming facelift belies The Hope & Anchor‘s grungy past, but the posters plastered across its walls reveal its reputation as a mainstay of the 1970s London music scene. Joy Division and U2 (misnamed as ‘The U2′s’ on flyers) have played here, and The Stranglers even recorded their album Live At The Hope And Anchor during a concert in the pub in 1977. N1

The world’s oldest surviving venue of its kind, Wilton’s Music Hall is a London treasure. Opened in 1828, it hosted popular entertainment for thousands of Tower Hamlets locals before it was destroyed by a fire in 1877. A campaign led by poet John Betjeman to save it from demolition in 1999 was a success, and today it’s mainly used for operatic and theatrical productions. E1

Founded in 1954 as a part of the ‘second great coffee revolution’, The Troubadour on Old Brompton Road is one of London’s last remaining 1950s coffee houses, and became a second home to many bohemian Chelsea residents with some of the very first Ban The Bomb meetings held here. Paul Simon and Led Zeppelin have given performances, and it’s where Bob Dylan played under his folk alias ‘Blind Boy Grunt’. Drop in for awesome acoustic performances. SW5

Who’d have thought the London folk and blues scene originated in Putney? One of London’s longest running venues, The Half Moon pub hosted ‘Folksville sessions’ in 1963, eventually attracting the likes of Van Morrison and the Yardbirds – as well as the Rolling Stones, who have used it as a rehearsal space. It has hosted residencies from Elvis Costello and gave Kate Bush her first ever public appearance.Today you’ll find live music at both lunchtime and in the evening. SW15

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